Author Topic: The Realm Questions  (Read 930 times)

Offline Moonbeam111

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The Realm Questions
« on: February 03, 2017, 04:58:10 PM »
Hey guys first time poster here!

Recently I've been playing "the realm" series by ray dyer. I started in the Westlands and have currently played up to the Lost City but I'm afraid I'm stuck here. I've explored all of the pyramid down to tier 5 and have explored the town and the park but I just I can't figure out what to do next. The volcano entrance isn't accessible. I looked on these forums but couldn't find anyone else with the same problem. I even looked at the official D&D module of the Lost City but that didn't help either.

Also, my party is supposed to be around level 7-8 at this point according to "the realm" website but mine are only around level 5. Could it be because I've been playing at the easier "novice" level difficulty instead of the default "veteran"? It also hasn't helped that you have to use training halls to level up instead of auto leveling once you reach enough exp. That's not a diss! Just pointing it out.

And one more thing I'm a bit confused about order of play in the "Final Diamond" series. Are you only supposed to pick certain lands and play all of the modules in that land? (I.E. Just playing all the eastlands) Or just start from the top module and go down to the bottom module playing through all the lands.

Any help would be appreciated.

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2017, 06:01:50 PM »
Hopefully we can get Ray down here to get some answers for you! 
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Offline Moonbeam111

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2017, 05:30:21 PM »
I figured out the answer to my first question. I didn't have the stone of zargon but when I found it and went back to the volcano it let me in. :)

Offline Ray

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2017, 12:15:33 PM »
Hey guys first time poster here!

Hey, Moonbeam111!

Recently I've been playing "the realm" series by ray dyer. I started in the Westlands and have currently played up to the Lost City but I'm afraid I'm stuck here. I've explored all of the pyramid down to tier 5 and have explored the town and the park but I just I can't figure out what to do next. The volcano entrance isn't accessible. I looked on these forums but couldn't find anyone else with the same problem. I even looked at the official D&D module of the Lost City but that didn't help either.

I'm glad you're enjoying Lost City!  That was a huge undertaking, and it only got bigger when I realized that the module included a page of "adventure hooks" for adventuring in the actual lost city, but no actual details to elaborate on them.  In my youthful enthusiasm, I decided to use ALL of those hooks.  I'm proud of the result, but I can no longer conceive of the amount of free time I had in my mid-twenties... Anyway, long-winded way of explaining why the published module is no help.  Everything that happens in Cynedicea comes from Pages 24 and 25.  (And now that I look back, I don't think I really did incorporate ALL of those hooks...)


Also, my party is supposed to be around level 7-8 at this point according to "the realm" website but mine are only around level 5. Could it be because I've been playing at the easier "novice" level difficulty instead of the default "veteran"? It also hasn't helped that you have to use training halls to level up instead of auto leveling once you reach enough exp. That's not a diss! Just pointing it out.

I'm pretty sure that "novice" level does reduce the experience awards you receive, along with reducing the danger that you face.  On the other hand, the levels I included on the website were averages that came from my playtest groups, and the groups of a couple close friends who playtested the designs for me back in the day.  Depending on how you play through the adventures, your numbers may vary, as well.  If you ever find your group is too low a level to start the next module, you can always mix-and-match with other regions, or grab one of the mini-adventures that come with Game00. 


And one more thing I'm a bit confused about order of play in the "Final Diamond" series. Are you only supposed to pick certain lands and play all of the modules in that land? (I.E. Just playing all the eastlands) Or just start from the top module and go down to the bottom module playing through all the lands.

The Final Diamond was designed to bounce you through all four regions of The Realm (they were the last games to play, and the shape your group makes as it journeys approximates a diamond, if you imagine the red line they show in the Indiana Jones movies...I was a weird kid).  Just like all the other games, there's no requirement to play them in any order.  The order I listed on the site is just the order of increasing difficulty. 

Any help would be appreciated.

I hope this helps...If anything I've written makes things more confusing instead of less, just let me know!

Offline Moonbeam111

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2017, 01:17:43 PM »
Hello Ray, thanks for helping me get those questions answered. I only have a couple points to make.

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Also, my party is supposed to be around level 7-8 at this point according to "the realm" website but mine are only around level 5. Could it be because I've been playing at the easier "novice" level difficulty instead of the default "veteran"? It also hasn't helped that you have to use training halls to level up instead of auto leveling once you reach enough exp. That's not a diss! Just pointing it out.
I'm pretty sure that "novice" level does reduce the experience awards you receive, along with reducing the danger that you face.  On the other hand, the levels I included on the website were averages that came from my playtest groups, and the groups of a couple close friends who playtested the designs for me back in the day.  Depending on how you play through the adventures, your numbers may vary, as well.  If you ever find your group is too low a level to start the next module, you can always mix-and-match with other regions, or grab one of the mini-adventures that come with Game00. 

So I knew about the mini-adventures but I'm a little confused. How do I encounter them? When I'm moving on the overworld map? Or can they only be played from module Game00?

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And one more thing I'm a bit confused about order of play in the "Final Diamond" series. Are you only supposed to pick certain lands and play all of the modules in that land? (I.E. Just playing all the eastlands) Or just start from the top module and go down to the bottom module playing through all the lands.

The Final Diamond was designed to bounce you through all four regions of The Realm (they were the last games to play, and the shape your group makes as it journeys approximates a diamond, if you imagine the red line they show in the Indiana Jones movies...I was a weird kid).  Just like all the other games, there's no requirement to play them in any order.  The order I listed on the site is just the order of increasing difficulty.

If they are ordered according to increasing difficulty why is Game17 suggested level of 18+ and Tomb of Horrors (which appears after Game 17: Against the Giants) suggested at levels 10-14 shouldn't tomb of horrors be closer to the beginning? Also can you go past level 20 or is 20 the maximum level?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 01:22:24 PM by Moonbeam111 »

Offline Ray

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2017, 02:02:20 PM »
So I knew about the mini-adventures but I'm a little confused. How do I encounter them? When I'm moving on the overworld map? Or can they only be played from module Game00?

There are two options in Game00 for the mini-adventures.  You can choose them from a list in the opening menus, or you can choose to walk around the overlands and stumble upon them.  Back in the day, my thinking was that folks could always transfer their characters back to Game00 between adventures, and then discover their next adventure by walking around and seeing what was available.  On the way, they'd also stumble upon the new mini-adventures that had been sprinkled across the Realm.  I don't know whether that's ever really appealed to anyone (because there are relatively few challenges that would appeal to any party at any given time), but it was there. 

I suspect that most folks who played the mini-adventurers just chose the option for "Select a Mini-Adventure" (that's probably not an actual quote, I haven't looked in years) when the painter rabbit gives the choice.

If they are ordered according to increasing difficulty why is Game17 suggested level of 18+ and Tomb of Horrors (which appears after Game 17: Against the Giants) suggested at levels 10-14 shouldn't tomb of horrors be closer to the beginning? Also can you go past level 20 or is 20 the maximum level?

Fair question, and I almost mentioned that in my post above, but I figured I'd already talked too much.  Tomb of Horrors shows up at the end out of respect for its position in D&D canon as THE killer dungeon.  In FRUA, I don't know that it lives up to that infamy, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. 


Offline Moonbeam111

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2017, 05:12:18 PM »
Gotcha. Okay thanks Ray!

Offline Moonbeam111

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2017, 09:58:45 AM »
Hey Ray I've been playing further your Realm series and have completed the West side and am working on the South side (this darn temple of elemental evil is giving me trouble lol) and a couple questions popped into my head. This isn't so much a gameplay question as it is a general one related to your games. I noticed you add stuff to your games that isn't in the modules (for example the entire lower dungeons of the lost city or the trip to the Raven's Ruin). How did you go about doing this? Just educated guesswork?

My final question is where did you get all the artwork for your games?? I especially like the colored artwork you put into your games that were black and white in the modules. Did you color those yourself?

This last question is gameplay related: do you implement the random encounters from the modules into your FRUA games? I seem to walk around a lot and do not run into any creatures besides the ones you are supposed to encounter.

Offline Ray

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Re: The Realm Questions
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 01:19:57 PM »
Hey Ray I've been playing further your Realm series and have completed the West side and am working on the South side (this darn temple of elemental evil is giving me trouble lol) and a couple questions popped into my head. This isn't so much a gameplay question as it is a general one related to your games. I noticed you add stuff to your games that isn't in the modules (for example the entire lower dungeons of the lost city or the trip to the Raven's Ruin). How did you go about doing this? Just educated guesswork?

Hey!  Glad you've been enjoying yourself!  Temple was a bear to make.  When I look back on making those designs, Temple of the Elemental Evil is the one that I keep coming back to and thinking, How the hell did I do that? 

I hope you enjoy it all the way through!  I still remember being surprised that my original conception of ToEE was so wrong.  There's a real structure to the dungeon, and also to what's going on in there.  A more modern publication would have included flow charts of the temple's organization, or some other visual breakdown that helped us as readers figure out who was at the top, and who were his minions and adversaries.  It's all in there, but I didn't find it until I went through, line by line, typing all that beautiful prose into FRUA...

As far as what I would add, my self-imposed rule was this: Everything in the module stays in the module, word-for-word, usually including typos.  But where the module falls short, I got to be creative.  I've been a DM my entire life; all my friends came to me through different gaming groups, and all my gaming groups melded into the same larger group that's been with me since middle school.  So, restraining the urge to add new stuff everywhere was tough.  So, I kept it down to those moments where the module says, "The party must travel into the deadly Burning Hills to find the hideout."

My eyes would perk up at that, because the module starts at the door of the hideout.  And yet...deadly Burning Hills, you say???

Another example was in Harvest of Chaos.  One option for entering Haradraith's Keep was to sneak around the mountainside and climb down from above.  But there was no detail on the mountains, really.  And I'd always wanted to use a fogwarden...

So, mainly, I didn't let myself get creative until the module let me get creative...


My final question is where did you get all the artwork for your games?? I especially like the colored artwork you put into your games that were black and white in the modules. Did you color those yourself?

I am noooooooooooooooooooooooo artist.  A handful of those old pictures were things that I did, like tavern picture in Assault on Raven's Ruin.  But 95% of the artwork that shows up in the Realm is stuff that I downloaded from different sites in the years before I found the UA Mailing List, the precursor to these forums.  There were sites at CalTech and Berkeley, and they were amazing!  Most of that stuff is uploaded at Rosedragon now. 

What really inspired the Realm was finding all these resources, from the art to the hacks, to everything else...and then also the incredible people on the mailing list.  I wanted to contribute, but I know my shortcomings.  I might be able to tell a good story, but I certainly can't make two pixels look good beside each other, and I definitely don't know how to make FRUA think that studded leather armor should exist when it wasn't there in the first place.  I set out to use EVERYTHING that the FRUA Community had made available.

Unfortunately, that desire to showcase everything has resulted in some not-so-flattering feedback regarding some ill-conceived font choices, color schemes, musical selections, clashing art styles, and so forth.  All deserved, I might had.  The Realm is more of a potpourri than a work of art...

The few things I did make were made in Neopaint or an old trial version of PaintShopPro.  That trial version was updated on me, against my will, and I never found the original version again.  The new version did away with the specific features that I used.  To this day...well, just last week, I have been using Neopaint, though.  Its a wonderful little program.

This last question is gameplay related: do you implement the random encounters from the modules into your FRUA games? I seem to walk around a lot and do not run into any creatures besides the ones you are supposed to encounter.

I do, and I don't.

I don't load random combats into a game that never stop coming.  HUGE pet peeve.  I replayed Secret of the Silver Blades last year.  I killed, literally, hundreds of 12th-level clerics.  That's several worlds' worth of those guys.  And larger quantities of minotaurs and griffons (or hippogriffs? I blocked the memory).    It was nonsense, and I got incredibly sick of it.

I try hard to keep that sort of crazy out of the games that I run, and also out of my FRUA games. 

So, for instance, when you go to The Hill in Horror on the Hill (Eastlands), there are tons of random encounters.  Most of them are things like, "You hear a rustling sound.  A deer darts off into the forest," which happen only once.  There are combats, too, of course, but balanced with everything else and generally single-shot events, too.  I put effort into making it interesting for a while, but also within reason.  I also get frustrated when I'm lost in a game, and all I need to do is get back to Point A from Point C, and all those fights are waiting for me again on my way back through.

I know that it's ironic that I'm trying to avoid that kind of redundancy when my number one criticism is that I never mark room descriptions to fire only once, but...hey...foibles, right?  I mean, I also hate wandering through a bland FRUA dungeon after all the room descriptions have fired, and now every room looks the same and there are no reminders of what my characters are supposed to be seeing...

Thanks for the interest!  Always happy to talk gaming!

(And sorry if I totally talked your ear off!)



 

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